Wonderful and Happiest Time of the Year

🎶It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year!
With the kids jingle belling,
And everyone telling you, “Be of good cheer!”
It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year!
It’s the hap – happiest season of all!
With those holiday greetings and gay happy meetings!
When friends come to call,
It’s the hap – happiest season of all!🎶




That seems to be Nora’s general consensus! She weathered her cold without any complications and is as happy as can be! She has a cold and a fever again.

The big kids don’t have much to complain about either.


Gavin has been known to speak with forked tongue, however…


Once upon a time I was one of these kids. Christmas really, really innocently WAS the hap – happiest time of the year!


But then you grow up and life happens. It sure would be nice, but none of us are immune to the tragedies and disappointments. It’s all part of life. On top of that, it is virtually impossible not to get swept up by the commercialism of the season unless we sequester ourselves to a remote cabin in the woods with no electricity–“off the grid”. {…which actually doesn’t sound half bad sometimes.}

I’m pretty sure it’s not just me who so easily falls prey to the societal pressures of generating the Perfect Christmas. We crave, want and expect the Most Wonderful Time of the Year as epitomized by the song. This unobtainable mirage has such a way of magnifying the adversity in our lives. The loss of a loved one, whether recently or long ago is especially painful during this season. The Perfect Christmas included them and they’re not here. That hurts. Nor is the Perfect Christmas “supposed” to be spent in a hospital room, a homeless shelter, or simply alone. It is not “supposed” to involve family discord, infidelity, unemployment, cancer, chemotherapy, codependency, divorce, physical or mental illness, funerals, addictions, a frightening prenatal diagnosis, etc. But sometimes it just does. There is the stark and agonizing contrast of our own lives with the Perfect Christmas… IF the unobtainable Perfect Christmas is what we are choosing to focus on.

In pressing the pause button for just a moment, I thought back to the story of the very first Christmas. It doesn’t look like theirs was very PERFECT either. You would expect that the birth of a King would include lavish accommodations and be heralded with trumpets and bells. That was not the case. First it was the arduous journey by donkey over a course of 60 – 100 miles… while pregnant. (And they probably didn’t get any kind of commemorative bumper hindquarter sticker as proof either!) Then to be told there was no place available to accommodate them… But wait, here’s this barn full of animals, or perhaps it was a cave, “You can stay here.” If I were Mary I undoubtedly would be throwing my arms up / rolling my eyes for the hundredth time and someone would have some serious explaining to do. As if things weren’t already completely awkward and botched, Mary now has to give birth without an epidural (mainly because those didn’t exist) and little or no medical personnel present… in a filthy barn. Jesus didn’t have a fancy co-sleeper ensemble to sleep in. He had a feeding trough for a bed. That’s probably about as far from perfect as I can possibly imagine! I refuse to believe that any of this was by chance or that it was just a stroke of really bad luck or lack of planning. After all, this was the Son of GOD!!! God could have paved their journey in gold or at the very least had a comfortable room waiting for them at the end if He so desired! The fact that He didn’t was (and still is) incredibly purposeful! It serves to remind us just exactly who this King was and who He was born for. Us–the hurting, the broken, the despaired, the IMPERFECT. He came to this earth in human form. He experienced the heartache, loss, betrayal, pain, suffering, death… for us. It is also to set the example that what ever it is that we are going through, it IS NOT WITHOUT PURPOSE!!

“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
(Matthew 1:23 NIV)

{Note that it says “God WITH us” — not “God above us” or “God out of reach from us”.}

He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
(Isaiah 53:3 NIV)

{He is familiar! He KNOWS what we are going through!}

My prayers are with those who are hurting this Christmas season, especially the Menoni family who said goodbye to their angel baby Everly Hope this past Friday. Also the Johansen family who laid their sweet Anna Hope to rest earlier this month. She was almost 9 months old. Both precious babies suffered from trisomy 18. Prayers are also with my dear friend Brenda who lost her husband of 35 years, Larry. And of course our sweet friend Ethel who lost her son Carl, and whose husband has just been given a cancer diagnosis. There are so so many of us who are enduring some really painful and uncomfortable crap right now. “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”? It seems not. While we can’t be expected to ignore the circumstances, it is possible to find and receive joy, thereby creating an entirely different kind of wonderful that is NOT measured by the world’s standards.

“Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all of the details of my life; the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be all right; and the determined choice to praise God in all things.” – Kay Warren

Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
(Hebrews 12:1-3 MSG)

Here is an inspiring story of healing, hope and joy coalescing beautifully alongside unimaginable grief, incase you haven’t already seen it. It is the story involving Nora’s birth photographer, Melanie that has has been broadcasted literally all over the WORLD, here are just a couple of links amongst the thousands:

The Today Show

Cincinnati Enquirer

Moral of the story: LOVE NEVER DIES!

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
(1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV)

And now onto the picture show ~

I saw what looked like a bird with a dollop of snow on her head! Upon further investigation through the lenses of the binoculars I saw that she was a beautiful cardinal with partial albinism! She was stunningly beautiful and inaccurately portrayed in these photos ! Unfortunately my phone does not have a fancy zoom lens ~



Greta’s Christmas recital last weekend was a fun and exciting way to end the week! She always does such a great job!



Norns enjoyed a relaxing afternoon baff… and some ladyfinger biscuits.


Later that evening Greta and I went to a Christmas event up at a local church. We were tickled by the 3 doves (!!!!) in the petting zoo…


… and by the adorable little black lamb whose mother had a heart-shaped marking on her back (not visible in this picture).


Last Sunday we celebrated my dear Mom’s birthday! Happy birthday to the best Mom in the world! 😊💕


Norns likes hanging out with her sister and cousins. She’s just one of the girls!


I found this cute picture on my phone (along with a collection of lengthy and unsteady video footage of way too close facial zooms, kids bouncing on couches, attempted interviews, and a very close up deliberation of the back of my hair, thanks in part to Greta! 😊) ~


Last Sunday evening we were just laying around relaxing when suddenly we heard a hearty knock and bells at the front door followed by an exuberant, “Ho ho hoooo!!!!!”

What in the world!?!?!


Would you believe that it was Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus that all of the sudden came walking into our living room?!?! Greta had just wondered earlier in the afternoon if Santa would be coming to visit again like he did last year! We were sooo excited to see him and Mrs. Claus!


Look how big Nornor is compared to last year!!


Santa, and Mrs. Claus? If you’re reading this, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for taking the time to come all the way down from the North Pole to visit us. That was so kind of you to think about little Nora who can’t go out to the mall to visit you like the other kids do! You’re AWESOME!

The delightful afternoon concluded for the Baff Princess — in the baffs!


“I love my sister!!!”


Then on into the toaster! {Sidenote: There is nothing on earth more delicious than toasted knee muffins and hiney cakes!}


Norns cheered on the Bengals against the Steelers with her Daddy that evening! A Terrible Towel came in handy for some pukes!


“Come on, Bengals!!!!!”


“Hello (last) Monday!”



“Random” Bible verse I opened up to ~


Isaiah 41:10 is my very favorite Bible verse. Out of all the pages, and all the verses I “randomly” opened to THIS one. I usually refer to the digital version of the Bible on my phone. I like being able to digitally compare different versions and translations. This night I was compelled to pick up the old fashioned paper and ink version. And there it was – marked even – maybe from a long ago Bible study. Wow.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
(Isaiah 41:10 NIV)





Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
(2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NIV)

3 thoughts on “Wonderful and Happiest Time of the Year

  1. Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone. From: iwillcarryyouSent: Monday, December 23, 2013 9:04 AMTo: tha4785@aol.comReply To: iwillcarryyouSubject: [New post] Wonderful and Happiest Time of the Year

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    aleisa posted: “🎶It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year! With the kids jingle belling, And everyone telling you, “Be of good cheer!” It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year! It’s the hap – happiest season of all! With those holiday greetings and gay happy meetings! Wh”

  2. It’s funny that you followed up that bit about ali and I with pics of cardinals. Cardinals have always been just as big of communication with her as feathers. Love that! :):)

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